Now the heat of summer is behind us, it’s time to fill your vegie patch or pots with autumn and winter vegies. Leafy greens are high on the list of must-have edibles, and most of them thrive in pots as well as beds, particularly through the cooler months. Here are five dependable greens to plant now.
Lettuces flourish in cool to mild conditions so grab a punnet from your nursery and plant them asap. Mixed punnets are a great way to go because they give you a range of leaf colours and shapes, which adds interest to a salad. Be careful not to overplant – don’t get stuck with a glut of lettuce so stagger your sowing or planting according to your needs, e.g. if you eat two lettuces a week, plant a punnet of six lettuces every three weeks or so.
If you are looking forward to putting spanakopita on the mid-week family menu this winter, be sure to plant some silverbeet. It’s always a robust and reliable producer through the cooler months, with its giant paddle-like leaves. If you want a splash of colour in the vegie patch, how about planting a punnet of rainbow chard. Their bright, colourful yellow or red stems look terrific in flower borders too.
Sometimes called arugula, rocket adds a peppery zing to a salad and is delicious to eat on its own, especially fresh from the garden when its crisp texture takes the eating pleasure to another level. It is very easy to grow from seed, and literally grows like a rocket when it gets going, so pick up a packet and sprinkle a few seeds directly in the ground or in pots.
Mizuna makes a wonderful addition to salads, soups and stir fries and is highly productive, so once you’ve got a few plants growing, you’ll never be without this versatile leafy vegie. The flavour is slightly peppery, like rocket, but it has a mild bitter taste as well. There is a range of different leaf shapes and colours available, and they are very easy to grow from seed.
With its delicate flavour and texture, this is a favourite leafy green for many food lovers. It’s just as delicious cooked or raw and can be tossed into almost any dish. English spinach demands cool conditions, so autumn to winter is your window of opportunity to get planting and enjoy everything it has to offer in the kitchen.
English spinach is the featured vegetable of the month in the May issue. Grab your copy to find out how to grow and enjoy a bumper harvest at home.